France tightens security, closes tourist sites as authorities brace for more violence

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He added that "no tax should endanger national unity" and the "violence must stop".

Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said 65,000 security personnel would be deployed across the country on that day to keep the peace. "We need a new representative body", said Chalencon, who has been criticized for postings on social media that some have seen as anti-Muslim.

The ISF was replaced with a less onerous tax on property holdings with a combined valued of more than €1.3m - though it excluded investments in property shares. Philippe said the increase would go into effect six months later.

On Tuesday, the government agreed to suspend the fuel tax rise for six months. Macron's move was "on the right path but, in my opinion, it will not fundamentally change the movement", she said.

Paris and other parts of the country have been hit by the protests from the "yellow vest" demonstrators, who have turned out in the thousands to protest the fuel tax hike in recent weeks - with protests frequently escalating into violent riots and clashes with police.

Demonstrations against what would have been one of Emmanuel Macron's flagship policies began on 17 November.

According to French journalist Agnès C. Poirier, both far-right leader Marine Le Pen and Jean-Luc Mélenchon, leader of the left-wing group France Unbowed, have tried to link themselves to the Yellow Vest movement-but their attempts have been rebuffed.

Police have come under criticism for failing to prevent damage to the Arc de Triomphe and stores along the famed Champs-Elysees in central Paris, as well as for violence against protesters.

The protest on Saturday 1 December descended into the worst rioting seen in decades, with hundreds of injuries and arrests.

France's "complex and rigid labor laws are a major deterrent to employment growth", notes the Index of Economic Freedom, which ranks France at an unimpressive 71 and only "moderately free" in economic terms.

Wednesday's survey showed some 68 percent of French people think freezing fuel taxes will not boost their purchasing power, while 54 percent think freezing gas and electricity prices will not help.

But his brash style alienated some voters and changes to a tax to reduce the burden on the wealthy earned him the label "president of the rich".

The backpedaling by President Emmanuel Macron's government appeared created to calm the nation three days after the worst unrest on the streets of Paris in decades.

But broader discontent with the government has spread, and protests have erupted over several other issues.

If Macron had bothered to recall past populist eruptions against the burdensome and ravenous state, he might have avoided the street violence of recent weeks, as well as the potentially risky political baggage that seems to inevitably adhere to these uprisings. "I'm calling this government to resign", Valette said.

Some officials, however, hope that the lack of clear leadership will lead the movement to break apart.

The French government signalled on Wednesday that it was prepared to make further concessions to "yellow vest" protesters, even raising a possible rollback on a controversial move to cut taxes for high earners past year. George Grow was the editor.

"If you want the new jobs, with the high salaries, you gotta compete with the rest of the world for them and wealth tax is one way to be sure you don't get them", said Schoendorf. Write to us in the Comments section, and visit our Facebook page.